I hate what they’ve done to blogs.msdn.com


I have the summaries, the lack of formatting, no pictures, having to visit each page in the browser (thus negating the use of an rss reader), etc.

If you do/don’t like the new format let me know and I’ll send off the quotes to those in charge to see if anything can be done.


Comments (41)

  1. i second that. i barely even visit the site now.

  2. LeeB says:

    I hate it! The short previews are so short that the majority of posts require following a link to decide whether or not the post is of interest.

  3. Gabe says:

    I have to ask, why did they change it? It now suck’s monkey elbow (and beleive me, monkey elbow’s suck!)

  4. Kulin says:

    I agree with you completely. I think they might have been trying to optimize the page load times with this move, but it sux when you are reading a post that interests you and you have to break your chain of thought and start reading all over again by clicking on the read more link.

  5. Unless the site changed within the last day or so, I get the full text of your entries in my rss reader. I get everything including the indentation and the coloring.

    The only thing I’ve noticed is that now the only posts I get are you talking about things that are way over my head rather than super cool things like your big-ass tv and whatnot. Are they filtering your interesting posts!? Damn those MS Commie censors!!

  6. Frans Bouma says:

    I agree with you, Cyrus. If they want to limit bandwidth, they should have used SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE things.

    Like:

    – write the RSS feed to a file. Every x minutes (or every x seconds). The webserver can then reply with a simple HTTP 304, which takes almost no bandwidth.

    – ignore requests from clients which requested the page in the last n minutes: return a 304 and don’t redirect.

    It doesn’t matter if the rss feed file is written every 20 seconds or every 10 seconds or every second. The user won’t notice.

  7. I’m sure that there are reasons for most of it, and they probably have to do with limiting bandwidth. The previews don’t bother me per-se, but I think that they are probably a bit too short. Any bandwith gains that are made by the short previews are lost as soon as someone has to go to a page just because it was chopped off at 500 characters, and it was 501 or 502 chars (I went to a posting that was chopped off because of a single period)

    But than again, there’s a lot of nosie out there now, so there may be enough gain for it to be worth it.

  8. Don says:

    You’re not hating deep enough.

    Yes, I hate the change, but what I *really* hate is that the first serious change to blogs.msdn shows that there has been zero usability analysis done on the site.

    Instead of punishing your readers for making the site succesful, look at why the page is getting so many repeat hits. Sure, it’s a fantastic site that does a fantastic job of promoting Microsoft products and technologies, but it’s also a really poorly designed page that has to be refreshed often because any posts that scroll off the bottom of the page are gone forever. If you don’t refresh often enough, you don’t get to see the posts. I personally make sure I hit the page at least three times a day for this very reason. I don’t understand the aging of posts on the site, but I do know that I’ve missed posts before and I don’t want that to happen to me.

    Fix the usability problems. Add a "See old posts" button. That will cut way down on refreshes. Add an optional cookie so that users don’t need to wade through posts they’ve already seen. That will make users happy (particularly if it’s an optional cookie) AND it will cut way down on your per-refresh bandwidth usage.

    Remember that not all readers use RSS (I’m guessing it’s actually a fairly small fraction based on statistics I’ve seen for other sites). There are still lots of people out there who prefer the old-school browser experience, like your correspondent here.

    And as a general note, bear in mind that bandwidth is infinitely cheaper than goodwill. Blogs.msdn has built up a lot of goodwill, but this change is burning it up at an astounding rate.

    -Don

  9. Greg says:

    Hate it.

    Seems like a heavy handed way to solve the problem.

    Haven’t we learned anything since the Pointcast days?

  10. dalenz says:

    Hate it.

    Hardly vist now.

  11. Carl Daniel [VC++ MVP] says:

    I hate the recent changes. The site has gone from being a must-read page to a don’t-bother page.

  12. David Cumps says:

    Personal feeds don’t get cut. Let’s subscribe to everyone of them πŸ˜‰ j/k

    But I too hate the snippets, without any breaklines… I have to "read more" every time (causing even more Bandwidth for their servers, rss request, page + css + images request)

  13. Serdar Kilic says:

    I love it.

    I quite like it that the font for all posts are now the same, my eyes don’t adjust too well from reading verdana 10pt and going to 12 pt half way down the page.

    Summaries? Love ’em. No more endless scrolling to find the next post (and some of the posts are just *huge*), if I like it I’ll click through to read it.

  14. Bandwidth would also be saved if people would start unchecking the "syndicate to main feed" button for offtopic posts that have no business on the main feed. If people want to hear about Jon Doe’s dog, they will subscribe to his feed. The feature is there for that very reason. Off-topic posts drive on-topic posts off the page and add to the noise.

  15. Rob says:

    It blows chunks bigtime.

  16. damien morton says:

    It makes everything look the same. Hard to pick out whats of interest. It was annoying before when people posted extremely long blog entries, but that could have been handled better than truncating to the first four lines of text. Maybe alowing posters to submit both an introduction _and_ a full article.

    Hmm. I just realized that malformed html was probably also a problem. Validate postings agains the w3c validator perhaps?

  17. Julie Lerman says:

    One thing I like: I like that posts are abbreviated on the actual homepage (not talking about the rss feed, here). Sometimes one long post will push SO many other posts off of the homepage for those who actually do browse there, that’s a big drag.

  18. Scott says:

    Julie,

    my understanding of the way the aggregation is handled is that it shows a set number of posts no matter how long they are. So if someone makes an extremely long post, the others don’t get pushed off the page, they just get pushed farther away from the fold.

    That being said, it’s a hacky way to solve the problem and it sucks.

  19. Brendan says:

    I hate it!

    Back in the good old days I’d refresh blogs.msdn.com every hour or two and skim the latest posts and read in depth anything that caught my eye… now, there is not enough to catch my eye even.

    Yes, back in the good old days I might be hit with a dozen near identical posts related to the release of X or the Y conference, but it was a small price to pay for having so much so easily.

    I also must agree with Don, it is quite bothersome that if you don’t read often enough that old posts just disappear off the end of the page. One can easily view old blog posts of individual posters, why not of the entire site?

  20. stan says:

    In some ways I like the change. In the past, I had to scroll down some very long entries that didn’t interest me to get to the next entry in the RSS reader I use. However, I do believe that the summaries are short. Perhaps instead of the first 4 lines, take the first 7-8 lines.

    Also, for blogs.msdn.com, perhaps coloring every other post entry (changing the background) might help people distinguish between the entries on this page.

  21. Eric Newton says:

    Each successive release of this blog engine gets worse.

    Sorry to say it, but that’s the way I see it.

    – Disabling comments after 30 days?

    – Requiring comment moderation?

    – Truncating the RSS feed messages?

    The problem is two-fold… there are too many bloggers on weblogs.asp.net.

    Sorry to say it… but the aggregate was getting overloaded with a ton of crap that I didnt want to read… Bush vs. Kerry, pictures of Vacations, etc etc etc. The level of noise starting going way up.

    Perhaps all the bloggers have to opt in to getting there message on the aggregate, otherwise it stays on their own blog, and the RSS for the actual blog would list it all… maybe there’s a better idea then truncating to 1000 characters… πŸ˜›

  22. Eric Newton says:

    Also, [not wanting to sound like a bigot], I think its dumb for non-English blog entries to be posted on a primarily English blog!

    I’m sure there’s a better place for the Spanish speakers to go to, like weblogs.asp.net.sp or something, where they’re more expecting to read entries in Spanish, and weblogs.asp.de for our German speaking folk…

    I think another problem is that blogs.msdn.com and weblogs.asp.net seem to repost even your posts, Cyrus… which is technically a waste of bandwidth, but I dont have an answer for it…

    The whole thing needs to be re-evaluated, in my opinion…

  23. Eric: Sounds bigotted to me. :-/

  24. Thanks all. Keep it coming. I’ll aggregate it at the end of the week and send this off to the powers that be.

  25. Paul says:

    Not worth viewing it now… πŸ™

  26. Richard R says:

    I read the RSS feed offline on a PocketPC. Now with the feed only has summaries of each article it makes offline reading very frustrating.

    I don’t mind what you do to the web page but can the RSS feed continue to contain each article on full.

  27. I hate it. blogs.msdn.com is not very useful anymore.

  28. SimonT says:

    I dont like it but I understand why, thing is the main feed is a collection loads of people, If I like someone, like Eric Gunnerson I subscribe to there blog cos theres too much noise in the main feed, but without the noise, you would never discover if someone is consistent enough to subscribe to.

    So its a pain but keep it as it is, remove the damn feeds with differnent character sets though thats anoying I dont mind the spanish or portugeuse thats what babelfish is for

  29. Mischa Kroon says:

    I don’t like it.

    It might be a good idea to use even more channels ( MS / non MS ) is now available.

    But it might be better to use things like

    Personal

    ASP.NET

    Windows Forms

    General .NET

    Windows

    Office

    SQL server

    VS.NET

    Other MS products

    General MS

  30. Mischa Kroon says:

    Ohh and then force the person who has the blog to choose a channel.

    No channel = not syndicated on main feed.

  31. Jeff Parker says:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/yosit/archive/2004/09/08/226826.aspx

    Brought up on several threads. I do wish they would fix it I hate it very very much

  32. AT says:

    I’ve discussed this problem with Cyrus for a few time and here a agreegated list of ideas:

    I’ve to subscribe to Individual RSS threads because It was waste of time to read entire blogs.msdn.com … I delete (read Ignore) people who are blogging about something not relevant to me ..

    Start of discussion (from my comment at Robert Scoble blog http://scoblecomments.scripting.com/comments?u=1011&p=8200):

    I believe that blogs.msdn.com must create subscription service.

    Every regular visitor of blogs.msdn.com can register (for example with .NET Passport) and offered to select:

    a) Blogs he is willing be delivered to him. Based on categories or up to individual blog level. After subscribed user must pool for one file – not 600-800 independ one.

    I can indicate my UserID while pooling blogs.msdn.com and server will return me posts from blogs I’ve subscribed

    b) Delivery method – RSS 0.9, 1.0, v2015 or Atom

    c) Turn on/off support for Gzip compression

    d) Options for If-Modified-Since. Return last N items always, return items in last 24 hours, generated dynamic feed with RSS items added/modified after If-Modified-Since time (user-specific RSS filenames will most likely solve AOL caches problems)

    As a by-product:

    e) blogs.msdn.com will be able to keep track of user comments and turn-off comments moderation for regular "trusted" visitors.

    f) User will be able to track answers on his comments or watch for selected conversations

    There are a lot of opportunities to improve. Use them.

    ———

    Additional suggestions:

    h) People currently maintaining blogs.msdn.com do this in their spare time.

    I’ve proposed Microsoft to allocate budged and use temporary-contactors from Volt computers. Current people will have to define goals – not to work on implementation

    I think that everbody from 600+ bloggers will spend a 100-200 USD from their budgets allocated this will be 60.000-120.000 – salary for 2 Volt contractors (http://www.volt.com) who will work hard on implementing 30-50 ASP pages blogs.msdn.com currently has…

    Optionaly you can hire 4 people in India instead of 2 in USA ;-))

    i) I think blogs.msdn.com must use a lot of features from channel9.msdn.com

    HTML comments, paging for comments (take a look on Josh Ledgard with 200+ comments on his OpenSource posts)

    k) Optionaly it will be cool to use threaded-comments – not a current plain one, this must allow to keep track on discussions – not jump from one comment to another

    l) Additionaly I would like to be able select posts I’m willing to track comments or see last reply times on posts I’ve commented ….

    I.e. two-level feature:

    Level 1 ) Track Comments feature to be able track interessting comments threads I’m not participating in

    Level 2) Check-box to be able add comments threads I’ve commented into "Tracked"

    There must a web-page showing all comments threads and last-comment date and who leaved last comment

    m) To save user time clicking on comments web-pages – there must be dummy parameter added in URL after ? (in query string) indicating comments count

    Like a

    blogs.msdn.com/cyrusn/2010/11/12/12345_comments.aspx?mc=25

    mc is a message count. Thus in case if there no new comments – URL is the same and Internet Explorer based on his local URL history will show it as Visited, but if there will be added any new comments -mc will be changed and Internet Explorer will show this link as Not Visited. Comments deleted for spam must count toward message count.

    n) Another idea based on comments from Chris Szurgot:

    If Blogs.Msdn team decide to keep summaries (for example for people who will find them usefull)

    Summaries must be smart with dynamic size … It must be 400-600 characters …

    If posting fit in 600 – then it must appear fully …

    If nope – it must truncated somethere on 400-500 characters to keep sence of visiting complete post …

    Using lame summaries will result in traffic increase – not decrease …

    People will have to download all interesting postings twice … Once using RSS, second time using HTML …

    Thus, In case if blogs.msdn.com will provide interesting content – traffic will increase, but if blogs.msdn.com will provide useless (for rest of the World) articles like your Cyrus "buffalo wings" – then traffic will decrease as people will unsubscribe and never return …

    o) Make it possible to see Archives of postings in RSS …

    I’m willing Cyrus.opml file created with links to May – Sept RSS files with full content of your blog …

    This way I will be able to read your archives from RSS Reader – not on website …

    There are RSS extension created to anounce that your blog has archives.

    p) One more suggestion about AOL HTTP caches.

    The problem is with customised content … User-specific blog URL will always miss AOL caches if URL will be unique – even for same content … I’ve possible solution for this …

    User (me) request http://blogs.msdn.com/Subscription_User_12345.xml with or without If-Modified-Since header.

    Server take a look on user setting and generate RSS items based on my settings (see item a-d) or return 302 Not Modified if nothing realy new ..

    But after RSS items generated – do not send them to user – but compute MD5 or SHA1 checksum for resulting file and return HTTP 304 Moved with Locatation: blogs.msdn.com/Rss_043kdaschecksum.xml and agreesinve No-Cache flags in reply …

    Then user request url Rss_043kdaschecksum – return RSS content with agreesive proxy-caching flags turned on.

    Benefits ? Proxies will be able to cache large RSS files with content and return it to users.

    If content is the same for several different users with different settings – it will be returned as one file.

    The problem – is RSS readers who will have flawed redirect handling and possible inability to serve Rss_043kdaschecksum URLs for a long time. This URL must be able to fail-back to full content of feeds or encode all information about settings used for generation. For example unique setting ID in database and ID of last posting/edit on server. The problem is that for 600 blogs there are 2^600 possible configurations πŸ™

    A lot of ideas. I hope at least one of them will be usefull πŸ˜‰

  33. Matt says:

    When I first started reading blogs.msdn.com I was just using the webpage. Then I started using SAGE to read it (via rss) …

    That was fine until the article count in the main feed was cut to 25, since SAGE doesn’t keep history…

    Now I using RSS Bandit, and it does keep history and seems fairly nice.

    I don’t need to see every story the second it comes in, so I’d be happy with a fairly long refresh of the feed, except that if there is a flurry of blog entries, there’s the possibility I’ll miss some unless I keep the refresh interval lower. If the mainfeed (or possibly more than one to offer different guarantees based on desired refresh period) had the greater of say 25 entries or 12 hours worth I could set it to refresh twice a day and never anything… In fact, with a time window guarantee, there really isn’t a reason for a minimum number of entries — if the site is quiet save the bandwidth

    On the other hand, having some history for the main feed for those using the web would be handy, eg buttons for all of todays entries, yesterday and say a button a day for up to a week back?

  34. DrPizza says:

    Can you fix the goddamn colour scheme?

    The main text table background colour is forced to white.

    But the fucking idiots didn’t bother specifying a foreground colour.

    Thats’ fine if your foreground colour is black or similar. But mine fucking isn’t, rendering the pages all but unreadable. Do you have control over this, or is it all centralized?

  35. Dr.Pizza: I’ve forwarded that to some people who can hopefully take care of this.

  36. Any more feedback? I’m goign to be sending this information off soon. Thanks!

  37. jasonl says:

    I hate the recent changes. RSS feed of blogs.msdn.com was one of my favorites and now, well, I can barely stand to read it….

    I prefer to scroll a lot to get the information than have to go to another location (ie, rdirectly to the entry) to see past what a computer has decided is the "correct" amount of information to show in a summary.

    -jbl